Tag Archives: small things

The latest gossip about Gup Shup in Pakistan

Here’s some news from the Gup Shup project in Pakistan (‘gup shup’ refers to the gossip that happens around cups of tea).

Winter has truly arrived, and the Chitral valley is surrounded with the snow-covered peaks of the Hindukush. In this cold weather, the women gather around the fire, chit-chatting and embroidering. Somehow, Israr and his team from MOGH Ltd (our local partners) miraculously manage to get us the textiles across the Lowari Pass (3200m altitude). Sometimes by air, sometimes through the new tunnel, sometimes across the icy mountains. So if you have had to wait for a bag you are coveting, there are very good reasons!

Pot Swap

Pot Swap

Pot Swap

Zaibonda sold ‘Pot-Swap’ on the opening night of the ‘Gup Shup’ exhibition at the National Art Gallery (NAG), in Islamabad on International Women’s Day 2009. Using part of the money from the sale, her son Sajjid started his commerce degree at the Commerce College in Chitral. He had initially wanted to go to Peshawar, but the tense security situation in the city kept him up-country, close to his family.



The ‘Pot-Swap’ bags remain popular. As one key supporter, who carries ‘Pot Swap’ on a daily basis, emotionally exclaimed “I feel such a connection to the woman who created this bag!”.

And other news – Naseema (one of the artisans responsible for the creation and embroidery of the lovely ‘Mantlepiece’, ‘Mehndi’, ‘Calender’ and ‘Harvest’ textiles) had her own mehndi in October. She is happily working as the warden of a nurses’ hostel in Chitral town, living with her husband, and occasionally travelling the 6 hours even further north to her husband’s village.

Though the crops were harvested in October ‘Gup Shup’ continues to bear fruit. Some news from across the globe:

Gup Shup Exhibitions

Following the success of the textile exhibitions in Islamabad (8th March 2009), and Karachi (28th May 2009), we are hoping to be in Lahore next … the cultural capital of Pakistan. We’ll keep you posted on the exact venue and dates when we are passing through early next year.

Drawing for 'mantlepiece'

Drawing for 'mantlepiece'

Drawing for 'Mantlepiece'

The textile ‘Mantelpiece’ recently sold, to an Islamabad resident. And ‘Ice-cream’ has found a happy home and should be landing in Dubai soon. If you are interested in a textile, please do get in touch, as there are only a handful left …

‘Gup Shup’ went international, to Polly&me’s home shores of Australia at Craft Victoria in Melbourne, June 2009. Two textiles (‘Sultan the Sitar Player’, and ‘Games with Didi’) did us proud down under.

With such a multitude of loyal supporters in Dubai, we are eager to bring the ‘Gup Shup’ textiles with all the narratives and the endless cup of chai to Dubai, March 2010 – watch this space!

Do you want to know more? Email Ange at info@pollyandme.com

Proudly Produced in Pakistan!

An Africa of Small Things



Sculpture by Geraldine Fenn

The jewellery scene in South Africa has kept a very low profile. Perhaps here’s why.

Three jewellers from Johannesburg have an exhibition at Bell Roberts Gallery titled Tales from the Mantelpiece. Philippe Bousquet, originally an architect, works with family identity as a link between vintage objects. Geraldine Fenn, with a background in archeology and art history, works with trophies and glass domes. And Marchand van Tonder, a jeweller for 25 years, has created ‘Tales of Grimm’ that explore the dark side of fairy tales.

With such a taste for the miniature, clearly you have to look very hard to discover what jewellers are up to in South Africa. But it seems worth the effort.